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Low-tar smokes, lung damage link under scrutiny

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A new study hopes to prove the links between smoking low-tar cigarettes and damage to small airways deep in the lungs.

The work, by the Menzies Research Institute in Hobart, is believed to be the first of its kind.Low-tar cigarettes were initially touted as a healthier option.But it is thought that smokers inhale harder and deeper to compensate for the lack of tar.It is believed this leads to blockages in the small airways of the lungs, precipitating early onset lung disease.Research leader Dr Leigh Blizzard says his team’s research is ground-breaking.”This’ll be the first direct evidence of the health effects of smoking low-tar cigarettes,” he said.The study tests the lung function of 200 smokers using new techniques.Participants mimic their normal smoking pattern using a radioactive gas.The study traces exactly where the gas goes in the lungs, and pinpoints blockages in the small airways.”We’ve developed a new test, which will help us to identify blockages in the small airways,” Dr Blizzard said.”Then what we’re wanting to do is, at a later time, see whether those people who’ve smoked low tar cigarettes are also the ones who have blockages in the small airways.”Results of the $200,000 study are expected to be published late next year.(Source: ABC News, Sept 2004)

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Posted On: 24 September, 2004
Modified On: 5 December, 2013

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